Things I've learned in Elementary School...
1. 5 minutes is a LONG time.
2. 5th graders smell bad after PE.
3. Children are extremely observant and brutally honest.
4. Most Kindergarten children can't pronounce Trustworthiness.
5. For some children, running in the hallway is an uncontrollable form of personal expression.
6. You can't judge a family by its outward appearance.
7. Teachers get quite cranky if they miss their planning time.
8. 4th grade boys giggle a lot. As with most giggles, any attempt to squelch them makes them multiply like bunnies.
9. The intake lady who answers incoming child protective report calls deserves the right to be an unpleasant person.
10. Good manners go a long way.
I realize that there need to be standards in public education. I agree that we do not want children to be left behind educationally. I've watched the state-wide regimen of preparing for the aptly-named (for some kids more than others) SOL tests. Many of the preparation strategies are based on a forced, robotic rote recitation of, not test content, but test taking strategies. (Wear comfortable clothes, get your rest, check your answers, read the question carefully... there was literally a chant.) There are guest speakers, videos, graphics and countless class lectures that result in dazed looks, but darnit these kids know how to test! I'm also in the direct line of fire for the most vulnerable kids who are proned to anxiety when the stress is on. One poor 2nd grade girl has been pacing and crying for days. But, we can't tell her that the 2nd grade tests are only practice tests to prepare for the actual ones that count for evaluation in 3rd grade.
All of this testing hullaballoo makes me think of the Mark Twain quote, "Don't let your schooling get in the way of your education."